Community Asset transfer is a rigorous process and unless the project is robust the application will be refused. The project proposal has already been analysed and approved by three independent organisations assessing the economic impact, the business case and its technical feasibility. The future prospects for the project will depend on the efforts and commitment of those in charge of the project once it is operational.

The management Board will be appointed from within the Community. The Board structure and its aims and objectives have also been approved by the Scottish Charity Regulator, OSCAR, to run as a registered charity (SC050128).

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The NCSL will be a community owned and managed facility and would have the interests of the community at the forefront of its not-for-profit strategy. This is quite distinct from both the MacDonald pool in Aviemore, a strictly commercial operation which negotiated a contract with Highland Council or indeed the Highland Highlife operation of a range of facilities and services which are cross funded throughout the Highlands.

The Nairn community’s interests will be paramount. NCSL’s approval as a registered Scottish charity was granted to provide recreational facilities and the organisation of water based recreational activities. NCSL is dedicated to return its operating surplus for the benefit of community groups in Nairn.

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NCSL is a community owned company and will either employ staff directly or however, subject to negotiation, it is more likely to contract with Highlife Highland. The company will become a member of Community Leisure UK as is Highlife Highland and will comply with industry standard terms and conditions for employees. We anticipate 65 (full time equivalent) jobs after the construction phase.

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The plan is to include a synchro pool in the new spa building and the current leisure centre will continue in its current form until this becomes available. Swimmers will then be able to use the brand new pool during the refurbishment work to the existing building. This will make for unrestricted access to Nairn’s swimming facilities during the construction work.

The location of the new building on the foreshore will deliver considerable environmental benefits in a number of different, but interlinked, ways. Firstly, the new structure will provide some protection from coastal erosion which is currently unchecked on this part of the beach. Rising sea levels due to climate change will make this all the more necessary. Because of other post-pandemic demands on HC resources we consider this to be just one of the project’s several contributions to sustainable development.

In addition, the investment in renewable energy technologies represents a significant reduction in the carbon footprint compared to the existing boiler plant. The combination of green technologies will result in the safeguarding of swimming facilities in Nairn by using these more efficient sustainable energy sources. Without this switch the existing pool, based on out-dated plant, will have a much less secure future in the post-pandemic financial environment.

The NCSL vision will also provide an ongoing public demonstration of what green technologies are available and how these can be successfully and profitably adopted in the Highlands.

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We share your frustration at the currently absent image. This is because final plans for the spa building have still to be designed. It cannot be designed until there is agreement about what it should contain and we plan that the community of Nairn will contribute to this process. This input will inform an advisory group which will fashion the brief for an architectural design competition. It is intended that the successful design will reflect the prestigious status of this new venture for the community of Nairn.

The ‘white squiggle’ shown for now is merely indicative of the extended prom wrapping around the new building and from which access is gained.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be an integrated part of the planning permission application once the extent of the building’s footprint and its positioning have been established. However, our aspirations for the project are to obtain the highest BREEAM rating. This is an assessment undertaken by independent licensed assessors using scientific sustainability metrics and indices which cover a range of environmental issues. Its categories evaluate energy and water use, health and wellbeing, pollution, transport, materials used, waste, ecology and management processes.

Dolphins and seals are mostly seasonal in the Moray Firth. There is scope and intention for the groundworks to take place while they were ‘out of season’; this is the sort of detailed consideration for the local ecosystem that will be discussed during assessments.

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The new spa building will be built between the low and highwater mark on the foreshore which is in the register of Nairn’s Common Good assets

NCSL is a Community-based not for profit organization so it will be the Community of Nairn that will be asserting ownership of this area of Common Good Land. The link between the existing and new building will include a ramped access to the beach to allow disabled access. The proposed unheated lagoon pool at the core of the building will be formed in the bedrock and the perimeter of the building will have a re-modelled rock pool landscape with appropriate disabled access.

There will of course still be access to the beach and the existing links promenade, in addition to the new protective perimeter walkway.

There will be no change to the seawater passing through the heat pump other than a change in its temperature. The system is based on a heat exchanger and once the heat transfer from the sea water has taken place it would be routed through a thermal balancing system to restore its normal level before returning to the Firth. The volume of water required for the heat pump is minimal compared to that available within the sea. In addition the twice daily tidal flows further mitigate any change in sea temperature.

Entrance to the facilities will be managed via an online booking system so that visitor flows can be controlled. This type of arrangement is practiced elsewhere and, post-pandemic, is likely to become a permanent feature of access to leisure facilities.

Some parking provision has been allowed for in the plans but, in keeping with the green focus of the project, visitors will be encouraged to use public transport and, to do so, consideration is being given to provision of a hydrogen-fuelled transfer service from the railway and bus stations.